Within a month of our move to Naples, we had our first guests. Jon’s parents, Joe and Lori, made their way to Tuscany, and then they traveled down to Naples to see us. Since we were all new here, we had to see the most historical site around: Pompeii! Little did I know, this was the first of SIX visits during our two years in Naples. So I became VERY acquainted with the ancient ruins of Pompeii; I even came to consider myself a reliable tour guide for family and friends.
Joe had arranged for the four of us to have our own private tour guide for 10 hours on Saturday. He took us to Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast. Our driver picked us up from the hotel and whisked us away to the ruins of Pompeii. Here, we met Gaetano Manfredi for a private tour of the ruins. This guy is the best of the best! He’s been on numerous television travel shows including Rick Steves.
Ancient Ruins, but Advanced Culture
While walking through Pompeii, we were amazed by the ancient lifestyle and culture. It looked relatively modern, with bars, shops, small restaurants, food markets, theaters, bathhouses with steam rooms, and brothels. The city was very lively in its time!
Considering how long ago this city thrived, Pompeii was an efficiently planned and technologically advanced city.
Among other things, water was able to get to different parts of the city with several leveled pipes and water towers. Drainage systems were built into the ground. Large stone crosswalks allowed pedestrians to cross the streets and keep their feet clean. Houses were for the private family, but the master of the house also kept his office there. Skylights served as water collection basins, and they allowed light to enter rooms. One-way and two-way roads ran through the city. They were designed in a grid with a central plaza for gathering.
Additionally, Pompeii was a port town where a lot of travelers would stop to rest and patronize the facilities. They’d also make trades for their future travels up to Rome.
The Aftermath of Mt. Vesuvius
We couldn’t believe the preservation of the city after all of this time! When Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, ash and pumice buried Pompeii. The city was accidentally discovered in 1749, after being lost for nearly 1700 years!
The eruption preserved the city exactly how it was on the day. Incredible! I remember watching “Pompeii: The Last Day” a long time ago and thought the same thing, incredible.
Each time we went back to Pompeii, I felt like we discovered something new. Additionally, we found that the best time to come was in the off season when there were no crowds and it was much cooler!